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Institute of Cancer & Genetics, School of Medicine
Cardiff University, University Hospital of Wales
Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN
20 May

International Clinical Trials Day 2017


May 20th is International Clinical Trials Day. It is marked by the anniversary of what is considered the first clinical trial, conducted by a ship surgeon called James Lind in 1747. Scurvy was rife upon Lind's ship and he devised a trial involving six possible treatments in order to compare each treatment's effect on the patients.

From The James Lind Library:

Without stating what method of allocation he used, Lind allocated two men to each of six different daily treatments for a period of fourteen days. The six treatments were: 1.1 litres of cider; twenty-five millilitres of elixir vitriol (dilute sulphuric acid); 18 millilitres of vinegar three times throughout the day before meals; half a pint of sea water; two oranges and one lemon continued for six days only (when the supply was exhausted); and a medicinal paste made up of garlic, mustard seed, dried radish root and gum myrrh.

Those administered with citrus fruit made a swift recovery and the trial was hailed as a success.

To this day, we implement clinical trials based on Lind's method in order to find the best treatments for cancer. Without clinical trials, we wouldn't be able to deliver new treatments to cancer patients, so we are very pleased to celebrate the achievements that have been made since Lind's day.

Staff working in clinical trails across Wales have been sharing their reasons why they believe clinical trials are important. Below are just some of the people involved.

You can hear directly from some of the staff working in trials in our videos:

We are extremely grateful to the thousands of patients who take part in trials every year. Without them, we would be unable to deliver the treatments of the future. To find out more about clinical trials visit the Cancer Research UK website.